SWITZERLAND – Tetra Pak, Switzerland’s Tetra Laval’s subsidiary has launched an Extrusion Wheel that produces stick ice cream products with large-sized inclusions, such as whole nuts, real fruit segments, or cookie dough chunks at the highest capacity on the market.

The Extrusion Wheel can be added to existing lines and uses a vertical rotating design that moves continuously at a synchronized speed to the line, to produce up

to 12,000 products per hour per lane, double the currently available maximum capacity.

As opposed to the traditional method which involves inserting the stick into the ice cream at the end of production, the new technique includes the stick at the start then fills ice cream with large inclusions around it.

The equipment maintains the position of the stick as well as the integrity of the inclusions and the wheel design which includes moulding cavities, ensures uniform product shapes and a smooth surface every time.

Tetra Pak said the development gives it flexibility to adjust to production capacity and respond to changing consumer preferences for novel and high quality products in different markets.

Ability of the wheel to be placed near the tray ensures the products are not dropped but rather laid on the tray solving the problem of precise placement of ice cream products on the stainless-steel trays of the extrusion line.

The new extrusion wheel, which the company said had two pending patents does not require liquid nitrogen cooling and cutting, due to a continuous piston movement that pushes ice cream from the cavity.

“The main benefit of the Tetra Pak Extrusion Wheel is that it lets customers easily develop new ice cream products with large inclusions at the same capacity and production costs as a traditional extrusion line,” said Elsebeth Baungaard, Product and Concept Manager for Ice Cream Extrusion at Tetra Pak to FoodIngredientsFirst.

Baungaard said the ice cream market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.8% in value, and 2.2% in volume between 2017 and 2022, mainly driven by premium single-serve ice cream products with new flavors and recipes.

“We look forward to seeing how our new extrusion wheel helps customers create novel and exciting products on their existing lines, with flexible capacity and the highest quality, all at the lowest cost per product in the industry,” added Baungaard.